I’ve been thinking about how often we use someone’s popularity to ascribe to them the level of worth we believe they deserve. I very much believe “personal” references requested by employers are an example of this. “Are you ‘normal?’ Do you have friends? Are you likable? Will you fit in? Will you laugh at our jokes?”
As I have gotten older I find it harder to make and maintain friendships. I prioritize similar values much more highly than other traits and characteristics, such as similar hobbies, appearance, or even personality. I also suffer from social and generalized anxiety.
I witness, often with envy and confusion, people for whom I have very little respect who seemingly have lots of people in their lives. It’s important to remind myself their friend count says nothing more about them than that they either have shallow relationships, where others are more acquaintances than friends, or they are simply good manipulators. I call these people “the losers who keep winning,” because the only way they can be close to others is by masking their true selves.
Do you struggle with making or keeping friends and perhaps relate to some of what I’ve written here? I would love to hear others’ thoughts on this topic.